Lillian De Jesus, Non-Profit Organizations

Non-Profit Feature – #1 in Fun – Starlight Children’s Foundation

Starlight Logo

Starlight Children’s Foundation is one of the MOST amazing non-profit organizations in the world. They have impacted my family’s life incredibly. The opportunities Starlight Children’s Foundation provided was undeniably breathtaking.

Think about this – You have a critically-ill child that has been in the hospital day after day with little hope they will get to do what they used to do at home.  Like have FUN… As a parent of a leukemia survivor, the mundane tasks of medicine, chemo, hospital stays almost seem endless.  No fun was really in sight with all the drama cancer brings.  If you haven’t read my previous posts, you can read more about my daughter going through cancer at age 5 on my Dealing with Fear post.

When you’re at the hospital, the hospital-staff do their absolute best to keep the children occupied to not think about all the STUFF they have to do.  Imagine an organization that helps families of critically-ill children have fun once they get out of the hospital.

I mean send you off to baseball games, movie parties, cruise parties, & MORE!  Yes, Starlight Children’s Foundation Midwest provided FUN for the whole family.  Now it wasn’t that easy to go have that fun because during cancer treatment you really can’t be around crowds when your blood counts are low.  We had to plan accordingly when our daughter was feeling well enough and she wasn’t in the first phases of treatment.  However once she was feeling better and her counts were good we accepted every invitation they sent us.  It was our only break! It was a break from the hospital and the house.  We felt somewhat normal again.

“The feeling of normalcy was lovely.”

Starlight Children’s Foundation Midwest gave us tickets to the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox games.  They were all awesome games. My daughter then realized that she was a Sox fan, which is okay… even though we’re (her father & I) are Cubs fans.  That’s cool! [Cringing]

Amelie & the Starlight guy
Amelie & the Starlight guy

We went to a movie party at a Hilton Downtown Chicago where all children got Pillow Pets and laid down to watch the movie on the big screen.  We went to an indoor sports house event where the kids got to play soccer and all sorts of sport activities. We went to an indoor amusement play area with roller coasters and arcade games. AND the ultimate outing we attended, which is near and dear to our hearts is the Spirit of Chicago Navy Pier Cruise.  WOW!!!

Navy Pier photo zIMG_2384Yachts_zps03e0ead0.jpg

Every time I think of it I get goose bumps as to how special it was to our family.  Now the extra special part of all these events is that you get to meet families that are in a similar situation and want that normalcy back in their lives as well.  The Navy Pier cruise was enchanting because not only did we get to meet other families but we sat down with them and had dinner.  It was AMAZING to say the least. We had dinner, face-painting, temporary tattoos, and dancing.  Now the children are not all going through leukemia, a variety of illnesses were all around the room.  Some children were in wheelchairs, crutches, and BEDS.  It didn’t stop them one bit from getting on the dance floor.  The DJ was awesome and EVERYONE was dancing.  As I was watching these kids on the dance floor, humbleness came over me and I cried.  I thought these are God’s children.  We all have troubling and tormenting tribulations in life, they may be different but we all have a story.  God was present there and I felt that my daughter was going to beat cancer with our faith in God.

Now you know when you go through something as heart wrenching as cancer, you have to wonder WHY and WHAT will happen.  Question after question and you don’t have a sense of peace.  You’re constantly on edge waiting for the worst to happen.

That day I felt peace.  It was an incredible feeling.

I don’t think we would’ve taken the time ever to go on one of those Navy Pier cruises and it was an unforgettable experience.  Thanks to Starlight Children’s Foundation!

Starlight Children’s Foundation is doing amazing things for children and their families. They work globally with chapters and affiliations. Check them out and give what you can to them. They have wonderful programs!

Here are a few:

  • Wish List – You can get a list of local hospitals with specific needs for their children.
  • Fun Center Mobile Entertainment Unit – This is a NEEDED distraction for children especially when visiting hours are done and loneliness sets in.  It provides a TV and game console on wheels that can be brought right to bedside.
  • Tablets – The tablets provide educational apps for the children and helps ease the fear of treatment.  This is great for teens especially since Starlight created an online community just for teens called Starbright World.

I hope you take the time to visit Starlight Children’s Foundation to get updates on all the cool stuff they do for kids and their families.  I’m an advocate for them from personal experience and you may wonder if organizations are actually impacting as they say.  Well I can say YES they do make an impact!

Lela & Amelie at the Sox game.
Lela & Amelie at the Sox game.

Have you ever had an organization/non-profit that you’re crazy in love with?

Tell me about them.

Take care,

Lillian De Jesus

 

Navy Pier Image: http://s469.photobucket.com/user/MagicNumberSix 

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